Sunday, 20 January 2013

Pink Condensed Milk Cupcakes

I really, really want to make cupcakes that taste like strawberries.  I love strawberry flavoured things.  Less keen on the actual fruit, though they're bearable if taken with ice cream.  Now, researching ways to do this has often yielded the need for strawberry extract.  However, that does not seem to be available here in the UK.  At all.  Not even online.  It is quite annoying.  I can't even find essence.  I have seen and tried a strawberry flavouring before but whilst it smelt right, it does not taste good.  It's a shame.  But, ever the determined woman, I started looking in to if I could make one and did eventually stumble across a recipe for strawberry extract.  So I thought I would give it a go and see how strawberry tasting the cakes made with it turned out.

As for the cake's base recipe itself, I decided to take a different route from my usual one.  I'd seen a recipe on Carnation's website for vanilla cupcakes made with condensed milk.  The opinion of the people who had tried the recipe out was positive, so I thought I would try that method out at the same time, along with the buttercream.

So the result?  The extract came out like I expected it to but tasting it reminded me strongly of strawberry jam which, considering the what the recipe contains, it pretty much is.  However, I thought it would be worth continuing anyway.  Well, the cakes tasted nice enough but they did not taste like strawberry.  I'd also added some pink food colouring to the mixture to make the cakes look a bit more interesting, but it faded quite a bit whilst baking.  There is still a colour difference and the interior of the cakes is quite pink, if not as pink as I would have liked.  The buttercream though, tasted very much like strawberry jam and was rather lovely.  The fiancĂ© agreed they tasted like jam, but very good quality jam because he doesn't really like strawberry jam but he did like the taste of this one.

So I ended up with vanilla cakes rather than strawberry, and buttercream that tasted like strawberry jam rather than strawberries.  The latter result makes me think the same taste could therefore be achieved with some seedless strawberry jam, albeit a jam that is of decent quality.  But I'll still put up the 'extract' recipe for those who want to try it.


Strawberry Extract Jam - adapted from eHow
  • 250g/9oz strawberries
  • 125ml/4.5fl.oz water
  • 55g/2oz caster sugar  
  1. Cut the stems off the strawberries and chop into thin slices.
  2. Put the water, chopped strawberries and sugar into a saucepan, cover with a lid and bring to a simmer.
  3. Remove the lid and cook the strawberries for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the fruit starts to go limp and fall apart.
  4. Place a cheesecloth inside a strainer and place over a bowl.
  5. Pour the strawberry mixture into the strainer and allow all the juice to pass into the bowl.  Press the leftover pulp against the cheesecloth to get any remaining juice.
  6. Pour the juice into a clean saucepan and then set over a medium to high heat and reduce it to a half its amount, stirring every now and again to prevent burning.  The syrup should be slightly thicker than it was before.
  7. Pour into a container and allow to cool.
Cupcakes - adapted from Carnation
Makes 12
  • 125g/4.5oz plain flour
  • 250g/9oz condensed milk 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 85g/3oz butter
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • Pink food colouring (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and line a 12 hole muffin tin with muffin cases.
  2. Put all the ingredients into a bowl and whisk together until smooth and creamy.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the cases and bake for about 20 minutes until the sponge is springy to touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  4. Leave to cool.
  • 200g/7oz icing sugar
  • 55g/2oz butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tsp strawberry extract (above) or good quality seedless strawberry jam
  • 3 tbsp condensed milk
  • Pink food colouring
  • Sprinkles
  1. Warm the extract/jam up in a saucepan until it is quite runny.
  2. Beat together all the ingredients until you get a thick, pipeable buttercream.
  3. Put into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle and pipe a swirl in the centre of each cake.
  4. Decorate with the sprinkles of your choice.

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